The World’s First Digital Clinic for Back and Joint Pain

July 28th, 2020  by  Dr. Jeff Krauss, MD

Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain affects our bodies’ bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves and it does not discriminate. It can be acute (rapid onset with severe symptoms) or chronic (long-lasting). As a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, I work regularly with patients suffering from back and joint pain. However, the challenge with our current healthcare system is MSK pain is not treated holistically, and the patient ends up experiencing a fragmented approach to care--leading to suboptimal patient outcomes.

The current fragmented approach to MSK care: Kevin’s story

Let’s take a look at how Kevin’s MSK conditions are treated in the current system. Kevin is 37 years old and works at his employer’s distribution center. His job has always caused aches and pains, but recently, he injured his back while playing with his kids. For this sudden, acute injury, his doctor recommended pain medications and physical therapy. Kevin went to his first physical therapy appointment, but failed to do his exercise therapies regularly at home. Moreover, Kevin works two shifts and found it difficult to continue to fit in physical therapy appointments in his busy schedule. The pain medications seemed to keep his back pain at bay and he continued to work doing his usual behaviors. However, over the next several months, his back pain started up again--turning into a more chronic pain. Eventually, the pain became unbearable, even pain medications didn’t help. Kevin took off half a year on disability and underwent an expensive $70,000 surgery, requiring additional physical therapy for post-surgery rehabilitation. During this process, Kevin experienced multiple handoffs between different healthcare providers and felt as if no one was championing his health and looking at his condition holistically.

Every employer has hundreds of employees just like Kevin - employees struggling every day either trying to avoid or navigate back and joint pain, piecing together a fractured healthcare system. Think about it - an employer has to pull 3 to 4 different MSK products off the shelf to help Kevin with his needs from job-related prevention, early intervention with a physical therapist for an occasional acute injury, and adherence and behavioral health to keep up lifestyle changes to hopefully avoid surgery.

That’s a lot for both the employer and employee to put together to solve their MSK problems. So what we’re doing at Hinge Health is re-thinking the member experience and building a digital MSK clinic that simply makes it easier for all of your employees to get the right care at the right time.

To help employers and health plans support members like Kevin, Hinge Health is launching the first comprehensive Digital Clinic to help solve Kevin’s MSK conditions at every step of the way from prevention to post-surgery. Hinge Health’s Digital Clinic will also offer free expert medical opinion for an employer’s entire member base--driving higher ROI by ensuring members get the right care at the right time.

One-stop shop and all-inclusive care for back and joint pain

Hinge Health is expanding our clinical capabilities to become the first Digital Musculoskeletal Clinic offering a one-stop shop for the most clinically-proven MSK care with employers, health plans, and their members. Hinge Health is adding over 100 Physical Therapists and Doctors as well as preventative, acute, and pre- and post-surgical digital care pathways to address populations with back and joint issues across the continuum of care. With these changes we will be able to impact users’ health more than ever before. As we have in the past, we will continue to provide quality clinical care along with great behavioral support every step of the way. Employers and health plans will be able to reach your members wherever they fall along the continuum of musculoskeletal care, while significantly reducing medical spend.

What does the Digital MSK Clinic involve?

What is the continuum of care? It involves 4 dedicated Digital Care Pathways caring for members across the MSK continuum from preventative care all the way to chronic pain management. Expert medical opinion is available for free to an employer’s entire member base to ensure members select the right pathway at the right time. All of these programs together make up the most comprehensive musculoskeletal care solution on the market.

- Prevention: This is our new early-stage prevention program tailored to each employer population. The program is job-type specific, and covers 90% of job types in America. Users have access to education and exercise therapy. This lifestyle medicine approach can help reduce MSK injuries on the job.

- Acute/episodic: This new program covers all joint & muscle groups. For a flat cost, participants have anytime access to 1-on-1 virtual-sessions with our physical therapists for a full year.

- Chronic: This is Hinge Health’s flagship program and includes a full clinical team of physical therapists, clinicians, & health coaches paired with sensor-guided exercise therapy to resolve longer-term chronic MSK pain.

- Surgery: This new program covers pre/post surgical rehabilitation for most common MSK surgeries. It provides expert clinical support that encompasses behavioral health, education, exercise therapy, anytime live-virtual physical therapy, and 1:1 health coaching.

Anytime 1-on-1 Virtual Physical Therapy

As part of our Digital MSK Clinic, our clinical model is designed to ensure participants have access to anytime 1-on-1 virtual physical therapy for diagnosis and monitoring, paired with 1-on-1 health coaching to ensure adherence and lasting behavior change.

HH Digital MSK Clinic - Updated

What do Benefits Leaders that partner with Hinge Health have to say?

“Hinge Health is one of the only healthcare products I’ve ever launched for which employees stopped me in the hallway to say ‘thank you’,” said Tom Sondergeld, former Vice President Global Benefits at Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Hinge was already the best in the market, and now with their Digital MSK Clinic, it feels like Hinge Health 2.0.”

Joe Toniolo, Senior Director of Health & Welfare at U.S. Foods shared, “We selected Hinge Health because they are the best within MSK, and are investing the most resources into innovation. We’ve had over 2,000 members participate in their program. By expanding their clinical services Hinge is becoming our one-stop-shop for all-things MSK.”

“Hinge Health has the largest evidence base of any digital musculoskeletal program including a 10,000 participant longitudinal study with very impressive clinical outcomes. This is the type of solution I would want my patients to have access to,” said Dr. David J. Kennedy, Professor and Chair, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University - and a member of Hinge Health’s Clinical Advisory Board.

Having nearly quadrupled our customer base in 12 months, Hinge Health is privileged to be the choice of 4 in 5 employers with a digital MSK solution, including Boeing, AutoZone, US Foods, Southern Company, Walgreens, PwC, FujiFilm, and more. As the market leader - we will continue our commitment to being our customers’ complete MSK solution.

Let us be your healthcare co-pilot

We have always been your healthcare co-pilot. Now we are upgrading to Captain Sully. Or in terms of Top Gun, you’re getting Goose by your side (may he rest in peace). If you are interested in hopping in the cockpit with us, request a free demo below.

Dr. Jeff Krauss, MD

About the Author

Dr. Krauss is Hinge Health’s Chief Medical Officer. He graduated from Harvard College, earned his Medical degree from UC San Francisco School of Medicine, and completed his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Stanford University. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Orthopedics, and he continues to practice as a part-time Staff Physician at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

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